WASHINGTON (CN) — President Donald Trump may have been acquitted of obstructing Congress but the Justice Department seeks nine years in prison for his former adviser Roger Stone.
A federal jury convicted Stone in November of obstructing Congress, lying to the House Intelligence Committee and witness tampering in a case brought by the Justice Department during former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
A longtime political provocateur, Stone is set to be sentenced in Washington federal court on Feb. 20.
In a sentencing memo filed Monday evening, the Justice Department said Stone’s crimes were serious and reflected an effort to “craft a false narrative” about his work with the Trump campaign during the 2016 race to the White House.
Quoting Alexander Hamilton, a frequently espoused founding father during Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, the Justice Department said Stone deserves the maximum sentence under federal guidelines because foreign election interference is the “most deadly adversar[y]” of the U.S. government.
“Investigations into election interference concern our national security, the integrity of our democratic processes, and the enforcement of our nation’s criminal laws. These are issues of paramount concern to every citizen of the United States,” the memo states. “Obstructing such critical investigations thus strikes at the very heart of our American democracy.”
The Justice Department argues that a harsh sentence is needed to not only match the seriousness of the offense, but also to promote a respect for the law.
“A sentence that includes a period of incarceration would serve as a powerful reminder that our democratic processes can function only if those called to testify tell the truth, and that serious consequences lie in store for those who do not,” the memo states.
In painstaking detail, the government lays out the bombshell takeaways from Stone’s criminal trial, including that top advisers viewed the defendant as the Trump campaign’s intermediary to WikiLeaks.
“During this time period, Stone regularly communicated with senior Trump campaign officials—including deputy campaign chairman Richard Gates and campaign CEO Steve Bannon—about WikiLeaks’ plans to release more information that would be damaging to the Clinton campaign. Both Gates and Bannon believed that Stone was providing them with nonpublic information about WikiLeaks’ plans,” the memo states.
Documents presented at trial demonstrated that Stone’s false statements to the House Intelligence Committee about his communications with WikiLeaks head Julian Assange had a significant impact on the congressional investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
“Stone testified falsely that he did not have any emails with third parties about Julian Assange, and that he did not have any documents, emails, or text messages that refer to Assange,” the memo states, continuing: “In fact, in 2016, Stone exchanged numerous emails and text messages about Assange.”
The government also slams Stone for what it called “a relentless and elaborate campaign to silence Credico that involved cajoling, flattering, crafting forged documents, badgering, and threatening Credico’s reputation, friend, life, and dog,” referring to Stone’s former associate, comedian Randy Credico.
Looking beyond the defendant’s criminal conduct, the Justice Department faults Stone for the series of flagrant violations of his gag order, expanded on multiple occasions to encompass a ban on all social media use by the time he went to trial.
“Stone’s post-indictment conduct demonstrated the low regard in which he held these proceedings,” the memo states.
Before expanding the gag order, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who will sentence Stone, said she was “wrestling with behavior that has more to do with middle school than a court of law.”
Last week, Jackson instructed both parties to include in their sentencing memos any arguments related to Stone’s “compliance” with the gag order.